1 Timothy 5:9
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
No widow may be put on the list of widows unless she is over sixty, has been faithful to her husband,

New Living Translation
A widow who is put on the list for support must be a woman who is at least sixty years old and was faithful to her husband.

English Standard Version
Let a widow be enrolled if she is not less than sixty years of age, having been the wife of one husband,

Berean Study Bible
A widow should be enrolled if she is at least sixty years old, the wife of one man,

Berean Literal Bible
Let a widow be enrolled, being not less than sixty years old, the wife of one man,

New American Standard Bible
A widow is to be put on the list only if she is not less than sixty years old, having been the wife of one man,

King James Bible
Let not a widow be taken into the number under threescore years old, having been the wife of one man,

Holman Christian Standard Bible
No widow should be placed on the official support list unless she is at least 60 years old, has been the wife of one husband,

International Standard Version
A widow may be put on the widows' list if she is at least sixty years old and has been the wife of one husband.

NET Bible
No widow should be put on the list unless she is at least sixty years old, was the wife of one husband,

New Heart English Bible
Let no one be enrolled as a widow under sixty years old, having been the wife of one man,

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
Therefore you shall choose a widow who is not less than sixty years old, who had one husband,

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Any widow who had only one husband and is at least 60 years old should be put on your list [of widows].

New American Standard 1977
Let a widow be put on the list only if she is not less than sixty years old, having been the wife of one man,

Jubilee Bible 2000
Let a widow be placed on the list being not less than sixty years old, having been the wife of one man,

King James 2000 Bible
Let not a widow be put on the list under threescore years old, having been the wife of one man,

American King James Version
Let not a widow be taken into the number under three score years old, having been the wife of one man.

American Standard Version
Let none be enrolled as a widow under threescore years old, having been the wife of one man,

Douay-Rheims Bible
Let a widow be chosen of no less than threescore years of age, who hath been the wife of one husband.

Darby Bible Translation
Let a widow be put upon the list, being of not less than sixty years, [having been] wife of one man,

English Revised Version
Let none be enrolled as a widow under threescore years old, having been the wife of one man,

Webster's Bible Translation
Let not a widow be taken into the number under sixty years old, having been the wife of one man.

Weymouth New Testament
No widow is to be put on the roll who is under sixty years of age.

World English Bible
Let no one be enrolled as a widow under sixty years old, having been the wife of one man,

Young's Literal Translation
A widow -- let her not be enrolled under sixty years of age, having been a wife of one husband,
Study Bible
Support for Widows
8If anyone does not provide for his own, and especially his own household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. 9A widow should be enrolled if she is at least sixty years old, the wife of one man, 10and well known for good deeds such as bringing up children, entertaining strangers, washing the feet of the saints, imparting relief to the afflicted, and devoting herself to every good work.…
Cross References
Luke 2:36
There was also a prophetess named Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher, who was well along in years. She had been married for seven years,

1 Timothy 3:2
An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach,

1 Timothy 5:16
If any believing woman has dependent widows, she must assist them and not allow the church to be burdened, so that it can help the widows who are truly in need.
Treasury of Scripture

Let not a widow be taken into the number under three score years old, having been the wife of one man.

a widow. See on ver.

1 Timothy 5:3,4 Honor widows that are widows indeed…

taken. or, chosen. under.

1 Timothy 5:11,14 But the younger widows refuse: for when they have begun to wax wanton …

Luke 2:36,37 And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of …

having.

1 Timothy 3:2,12 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, …

1 Corinthians 7:10,11,39,40 And to the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the …

(9) Let not a widow be taken into the number under threescore years old.--The question respecting the assistance to be afforded to the poor and destitute widows of the great Asian Church reminded St. Paul of an organisation, consisting of widowed women, which had grown out of the needs of Christianity. He would lay down some special rules here to be observed by his friend and disciple. What, now, is this organisation commended to Timothy in these special directions? Here, and here only in the New Testament, do we find it alluded to; but the instructions in this passage are so definite, so precise, that it is impossible not to assume in the days of Timothy and of Paul, in some, if not in all the great churches, the existence of an official band of workers, consisting of widows, most carefully selected from the congregation of believers, of a somewhat advanced age, and specially distinguished for devotion--possessing, each of these, a high and stainless reputation--they were an official band of workers, a distinct order, so to speak; for these widows, formally entered on the Church's list, could not possibly represent those poor and desolate widows, friendless and destitute, spoken of above. The minimum age of sixty years would also exclude many; and the advice of St. Paul to the younger ones to marry again could never have been addressed to women wanting even many years of the requisite "sixty." Were these poor souls to be formally shut out from receiving the Church's alms? Again, those on the list could never be the same persons whom we hear of as deaconesses (Romans 16:1, and in the Christian literature of the second century). The active duties of the office would have been utterly incompatible with the age of sixty, the minimum age at which these were to be entered on the list. We then conclude these "widows" were a distinct and most honourable order, whose duties, presbyteral rather than diaconic, apparently consisted in the exercise of superintendence over, and in the ministry of counsel and consolation to, the younger women.--That they sat unveiled in the assemblies in a separate place by the presbyters; that they received a special ordination by laying on of hands; that they wore a peculiar dress--were distinctions probably belonging to a later age.

Having been the wife of one man.--Of the conditions of enrolment in this "order," the first--that of age--has been alluded to; the second--"having been the wife of one man"--must not be understood in the strictly literal sense of the words. It is inconceivable that the hope of forming one of the highly honoured band of presbyteral women depended on the chance of the husband living until the wife had reached the age of sixty years. Had he died in her youth, or comparative youth, the Apostle's will was that the widow should marry again. (See 1Timothy 5:14, where St. Paul writes, "I will that the younger women marry," &c.)

The right interpretation of the words is found in some such paraphrase as, "If in her married life she had been found faithful and true." The fatal facility of divorce and the lax state of morality in Pagan society, especially in the Greek and Asiac cities, must be taken into account when we seek to illustrate and explain these directions respecting early Christian foundations.

While unhesitatingly adopting the above interpretation of the words "wife of one man," as faithfully representing the mind of St. Paul, who was legislating here, it must be remembered, for the masses of believers whose lot was cast in the busy world (see his direct command in 1Timothy 5:14 of this chapter, where the family life is pressed on the younger widow, and not the higher life of solitude and self-denial), still those expositors who adopt the stricter and sterner interpretation of "wife of one man"--viz., "a woman that has had only one husband"--have, it must be granted, a strong argument in their favour from the known honour the univirc obtained in the Roman world. So Dido, in n. iv. 28, says--

"Ille meos, primus qui me sibi junxit, amores

Abstulit, ille habeat secum, servetque sepulcher."

Compare, too, the examples of the wives of Lucan, Drusus, and Pompey, who, on the death of their husbands, devoted the remainder of their lives to retirement and to the memory of the dead. The title univir graved on certain Roman tombs shows how this devotion was practised and esteemed. "To love a wife when living is a pleasure, to love her when dead is an act of religion," wrote Statius--

"Uxorem vivam amare voluptas

Defunctam religio."

--Statius, Sylv. v., in Promio.

And see, for other instances, Lecky, Hist. of European Morals, chap. 5.

But it seems highly improbable that the delicate and touching feeling, which had taken root certainly in some (alas! in only a small number) of the nobler Roman minds, influenced St. Paul, who, under the direction of the Holy Spirit, was laying down rules for a great and world-wide society, which was to include the many, not the few, chosen souls--was legislating for the masses, to whom such an expressed wish would indeed be "a counsel of perfection" rarely to be carried out; and so, without hesitation, we adopt the more practical interpretation given above.

Verse 9. - Let none be enrolled as a widow for let not a widow be taken into the number, A.V. Let none be enrolled, etc. The proper translation seems certainly to be (Ellicott, Alford, Huther, etc.), let a woman be enrolled as a widow not under sixty years old; i.e. χήρα a is the predicate, not the subject. It follows that the word "widow" here is used in a slightly different sense from that in the preceding verses, viz. in the technical sense of one belonging to the order of widows, of which it appears from the word καταλεγέσθω there was a regular roll kept in the Church. We do not know enough of the Church institutions of the apostolic age to enable us to say positively what their status or their functions were, but doubtless they were the germ from which the later development (of which see Bingham, bk. 7. 1 Timothy 4.) took its rise. We may gather, however, from the passage before us that their lives were specially consecrated to the service of God and the Church; that they were expected to be instant and con-slant in prayer, and to devote themselves to works of charity; that the apostle did not approve of their marrying again after their having embraced this life of widowhood, and therefore would have none enrolled under sixty years of age; and generally that, once on the roll, they would continue there for their life. Enrolled (καταλεγέσθω); only here in the New Testament or (in this sense) in the LXX.; but it is the regular classical word for enrolling, enlisting, soldiers, etc. Hence our word "catalogue." In like manner, in the times of the Empress Helena, the virgins of the Church are described as ἀναγεγραμμένας ἐν τῷ τῆς ἐκκλησίας κανόνι (Socr., 1:17), "registered in the Church's register," or list of virgins. Under three score years old. A similar rule was laid down in several early canons, which forbade the veiling of virgins before the age of forty. This care to prevent women from being entangled by vows or engagements which they had not well considered, or of which they did not know the full force, is in striking contrast with the system which allows young girls to make irrevocable vows. The participle γεγονυῖα, "being," belongs to this clause (not as in the A.V. to the following one), as Alford clearly shows, and as the R.V. also indicates, by putting having been in italics; though it does not translate γεγονυῖα in this clause, unless possibly the word "old" is considered as representing γεγονυῖα. It should be, Let none be enrolled as widows, being under sixty years of age. The wife of one man; see above, 1 Timothy 3:2, the similar phrase, "the husband of one wife" (which likewise stands without any participle), and the note there. To which may be added that it is hardly conceivable that St. Paul should within the compass of a few verses (see ver. 14) recommend the marriage of young widows, and yet make the fact of a second marriage an absolute bar to a woman being enrolled among the Church widows. Let not a widow be taken into the number,.... That is, of widows, to be maintained by the church; though some choose to understand these words of the number of such who were made deaconesses, and had the care of the poor widows of the church committed to them; and so the Arabic version renders it, "if a widow be chosen a deaconess"; but the former sense is best, for it appears from 1 Timothy 5:1 that the apostle is still speaking of widows to be relieved: now such were not to be taken under the church's care for relief, under threescore years old: for under this age it might be supposed they would marry, and so not be desolate, but would have husbands to provide for them; or they might be capable of labour, and so of taking care of themselves. The age of sixty years was by the Jews (x) reckoned "old age", but not under.

Having been the wife of one man; that is, at one time; for second marriages are not hereby condemned, for this would be to condemn what the apostle elsewhere allows, Romans 7:2. Nor is the sense only, that she should be one who never had more husbands than one at once; for this was not usual for women to have more husbands than one, even where polygamy obtained, or where men had more wives than one: this rather therefore is to be understood of one who had never put away her husband, and married another, which was sometimes done among the Jews; see Mark 10:12, and this being a scandalous practice, the apostle was willing to put a mark of infamy upon it, and exclude such persons who had been guilty of it from the number of widows relieved by the church.

(x) Pirke Abot, c. 5. sect. 21. 9. Translate, "As a widow (that is, of the ecclesiastical order of widowhood; a kind of female presbytery), let none be enrolled (in the catalogue) who is less than sixty years old." These were not deaconesses, who were chosen at a younger age (forty was the age fixed at the Council of Chalcedon), and who had virgins (in a later age called widows) as well as widows among them, but a band of widows set apart, though not yet formally and finally, to the service of God and the Church. Traces of such a class appear in Ac 9:41. Dorcas herself was such a one. As it was expedient (see on [2478]1Ti 3:2; Tit 1:6) that the presbyter or bishop should have been but once married, so also in her case. There is a transition here to a new subject. The reference here cannot be, as in 1Ti 5:3, to providing Church sustenance for them. For the restriction to widows above sixty would then be needless and harsh, since many widows might be in need of help at a much earlier age; as also the rule that the widow must not have been twice married, especially since he himself, below (1Ti 5:14) enjoins the younger widows to marry again; as also that she must have brought up children. Moreover, 1Ti 5:10 presupposes some competence, at least in past times, and so poor widows would be excluded, the very class requiring charity. Also, 1Ti 5:11 would then be senseless, for then their remarrying would be a benefit, not an injury, to the Church, as relieving it of the burden of their sustenance. Tertullian [On the Veiling of Virgins, 9], Hermas [Shepherd, 1.2], and Chrysostom [Homily, 31], mention such an order of ecclesiastical widowhood, each one not less than sixty years old, and resembling the presbyters in the respect paid to them, and in some of their duties; they ministered with sympathizing counsel to other widows and to orphans, a ministry to which their own experimental knowledge of the feelings and sufferings of the bereaved adapted them, and had a general supervision of their sex. Age was doubtless a requisite in presbyters, as it is here stated to have been in presbyteresses, with a view to their influence on the younger persons of their sex They were supported by the Church, but not the only widows so supported (1Ti 5:3, 4).

wife of one man—in order not to throw a stumbling-block in the way of Jews and heathen, who regarded with disfavor second marriages (see on [2479]1Ti 3:2; Tit 1:6). This is the force of "blameless," giving no offense, even in matters indifferent.5:9-16 Every one brought into any office in the church, should be free from just censure; and many are proper objects of charity, yet ought not to be employed in public services. Those who would find mercy when they are in distress, must show mercy when they are in prosperity; and those who show most readiness for every good work, are most likely to be faithful in whatever is trusted to them. Those who are idle, very seldom are only idle, they make mischief among neighbours, and sow discord among brethren. All believers are required to relieve those belonging to their families who are destitute, that the church may not be prevented from relieving such as are entirely destitute and friendless.
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Alphabetical: A be been faithful has having her husband if is less list man may No not of old on one only over put she sixty than the to unless widow widows wife years

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